Kyoya looked up from her broken body. His eyes blazed with such fury that only Mephisto perched silently on the roof above the battle saw the tears streaming unheeded down his cheeks. The demon laughed and taunted the young man. Moved by passion, Kyoya forgot that emotion was his enemy in battle and as deadly as his opponent's sword. He charged blindly. Mephisto saw it happening too late to stop it.
His staff rose above the creature and fell passing through its body in a blaze of blue energy. The demon screamed as it was cleaved in half, but it had already struck and death could not still the motion it had begun. The long black tail lashed out striking Kiyoya in the center of the chest.
From his vantage point, Mephisto saw the stinger strike home, saw the bladder at its base pumping with the monster's dying throes, saw the young man who had brought hope into his life for the first time in centuries crumple to the ground. He felt his heart sink in his chest. He leapt from the rooftop slowing himself at the last moment to land lightly on his feet. Knowing that it was probably too late, he scooped the young man up and carried him back to his own home.
Kyoya felt himself being lifted in inhumanly strong arms. He forced himself to look, ready to use the last of his own life force to kill the murdering demon. Instead of a hideous scorpion-like beast, he found himself staring at a beautiful, unearthly face as pale as snow framed by long straight hair darker than night. 'Mephisto', he thought vaguely, 'perhaps you were right, maybe there is no point in fighting them. I wish I had told you before it was too late.' Then, darkness came for him and he relaxed into it gratefully.
He awoke reluctantly. Every part of his body ached and his brain threatened to explode with each beat of his heart. He cracked his eyes and groaned as candlelight stabbed into his eyes. He sighed in gratitude as a shadow stepped between him and the source of his pain.
"You're alive." The soft voice sounded surprised.
Mephisto knelt beside him and laid his long, slender hands on either side of his face. There was a brief feeling of disorientation then the pain lessened dramatically.
Kyoya opened his eyes fully. "How did you do that?"
Mephisto rose with a small, bitter smile. "I think that you will recover." He started back to his chair in the deeper shadows, but a weak voice stopped him.
"You were right."
He turned, "About what."
"She's dead, Mephisto."
"I am sorry, I know that you loved Sayaka."
"She was my best friend."
"I hope you know that I am your friend as well." For some unfathomable reason those words had hurt him.
"Why did you save me?"
"Because I..." For the first time in ages untold Mephisto found himself speechless. He had no words to describe his reasons, he was not even sure he knew why. He shook his head mutely.
"Thank you, Mephisto. I do know all that you have done for me and I do consider you a friend. She was like a sister to me even after we broke up."
"I never knew what happened between you."
"I didn't love her the same way she loved me. I didn't realize it at first and when I did, I didn't want to admit it. I hurt her for so long, I was wrong."
The pale man knelt once more beside his bed looking into eyes as if searching for something there. "Who am I to judge what is right or wrong. I have been dead to the world for so long I have forgotten what life is about."
"What do you mean?"
Mephisto sighed and bowed his head. Kyoya felt his raven locks brush his bare chest above the bandages. He could not help shivering at the silken caress. He had seen Mephisto contemplative, aloof, even arrogant, but he had never seen him look tired and defeated until now.
Hesitantly, he reached out and laid a shaky hand on the dark head bowed beside him. Mephisto made no move to dislodge it. "Mephisto?"
The voice that drifted from under the curtain of hair was subdued. "Yes?"
"What are you?"
"Does it matter?"
"It does to me."
"Heal, Kyoya. Sleep now, and ask again when you awaken."
"Will you tell me then?"
"I will try. I make no promises, but I will try."
Mephisto rose in a fluid movement. Kyoya sighed, knowing he would get nothing more than that. Mephisto's masks were back in place, as coldly flawless as the first time he had come to the Demon City. He let himself go to sleep half hoping that he would never wake up.
Kyoya bolted upright gasping for breath. He was in a strange place, darkness surrounded him. There was a flash of blinding light and a crashing roar. He was on his feet struggling to escape the bonds that clung to him before he realized where he was. Slowly, he pieced the facts together. This was Mephisto's penthouse, the bonds his bedsheets, now ripped and soaked with sweat. The light was flashes of lightning outside the tall arched windows. It was storming, the thunder was almost continuous now and rain pounded on the roof.
He managed to regain his composure enough to disengage himself from the tangle of blankets and make his way to the windows which were slightly ajar. He opened them fully and leaned out letting the windblown rain wash the sweat and salt tears from his face.
"You'll be sick again."
Kyoya jumped at the unexpected voice. He leaned farther out the window to stare at Mephisto. His host was sitting on the landing of a fire escape that ran up the corner of the building. A small ledge ran across the building, under the windows to the escape. The ledge was just wide enough for one person if he hugged the building tightly.
Swallowing his fear, Kyoya climbed out of the window onto the ledge. He had to stop and cling to the frame a moment as a wave of dizziness caught him. When his head stopped spinning, he made his way across to where Mephisto sat, dropping down beside him with a sigh. Fortunately, the stone gargoyles at the corner of the structure blocked the rain and the worst of the wind from the landing.
"That was stupid."
"What are you doing out here?" He ignored Mephisto's comment.
"I like storms."
Kyoya frowned and stared at his pale companion. "Who are you?"
Mephisto sighed. "I am no one if not myself."
"You always speak in riddles and poetry. Why can't you just answer me?"
Mephisto looked up at him and Kyoya was shocked to see that his eyes were bloodshot almost as if he had been crying. "What is it? What's wrong Mephisto?"
"I am afraid."
"Afraid of what?"
"I haven't let myself feel in so long, years beyond counting, and now..."
"And now what?"
"And now there's you."
"I care about you. I hurt when I thought you were going to die."
Kyoya was taken aback by the statement. "Why? I mean, I'm just one man, a fool at that. I let her down, I let everyone down. You were right the first time I came here, I can't make a difference. Someone will always call the evil back, there will always be another demon. You should have let me die before, and you should have let me die this time. How could anyone care about me, especially someone like you?"
"A demon or an angel, I don't know which, but I know that you are nothing of this world."
Mephisto dropped his eyes with that same tired, haunted expression he had worn earlier. "Is that what you think I am?"
"I don't know what you are." He buried his face in his hands. "I don't know if I want to know."
Mephisto looked up into roiling black clouds overhead. "I am a man of flesh and blood. I bleed when cut, I eat, I drink. Yet, I have always been apart from other men. Time flows around me and people are born, grow old, and die, ages and empires rise and fall, the seasons come and go and everything changes. Everything changes except for me."
Kyoya studied his face which was still upturned toward the storm. His companion was beautiful. The dark hair framed a long straight nose, pouting lips, and a stubborn chin. His skin was clear and as fine as alabaster. His eyes were the strangest pale green colour shot through with lines of deep gold and rimmed in black. They were cat like, mysterious, fringed with long, dark lashes. He was tall and well built, broad shouldered with a strong chest leading down to a narrow waist and incredibly long legs. He had an air of power about him, an ancient feeling...ancient...that was what had bothered Kyoya from the first moment they met. Mephisto was not part of this world, he was outside it, above it, and so alone. His heart ached for his strange friend.
As if reading his mind, Mephisto looked down meeting his eyes. "I am alone. Everyone I know, everyone I allow myself to care about passes on, but I cannot. I must remain alone and unending. I cannot allow myself to care, to love. The pain is too terrible when I must let that love die away."
Kyoya was silent a long time, thinking. When he spoke again it was with a low intensity that captured Mephisto's attention. "If you never let yourself love, you're as dead as any mortal man already. All that matters is feeling. If there will always be another evil, another darkness, we can never win the war between good and evil, but if we don't even fight, evil wins. That chance is what we fight for, not victory. we fight and die so that two people can be happy even if it is only for a very, short time. We fight so that another spring can come, another flower bloom, another child be born. What else is there, what else matters? I almost lost sight of that in my own misery."
Mephisto sighed. "For each child that is born another dies, every flower that opens to the sun wilts and fades. Every spring dies into autumn and then winter. Children grow old and sick. Nothing of beauty is permanent."
"You are wrong." Kyoya rose to his knees in front of Mephisto capturing his eyes. "Life is eternal, the cycle never ends. It is beautiful and perfect, like you. If you open yourself to it, you can see its endless flow like no other. It is right here in front of you, alive, warm, needing and longing to be needed. All you have to do is take it."
Mephisto found himself mesmerized by the rich brown eyes that held him pinned in place. He was aware that the meaning of the conversation had changed somehow, and that even the storm held its breath for the moment as if waiting for him to move, to answer the unspoken question that knelt before him. His mind was screaming at him to do something, anything, but he seemed frozen in place.
Then the moment passed and the dark eyes clouded. Kyoya began to move away. Mephisto found his voice then. "No!" without thinking, he lunged forward capturing the younger man around the waist and pulling him into a crushing embrace. "Please don't go."
Kyoya wrapped his arms around his shoulders. Mephisto held him tight, his ear pressed against his heart. "Why should I stay Mephisto? You must tell me. Why should I remain?"
"I...I need you." The voice was almost lost in the wail of the storm winds as they once more howled across the night. "I love you."
Kyoya pulled back and touched Mephisto's cheek gently. The older man, if indeed he had ever really been a man, looked into his eyes. Having chosen his path back into the world, there was no more fear or uncertainty in him. He rose smoothly lifting Kyoya into his arms as if he weighed nothing. Gracefully as a cat, he crossed the ledge leaping through the window to land on the burgundy carpet without a sound.
He carried Kyoya to the bare bed and laid him on the mattress with exaggerated care. Wordlessly he leaned over the bed long enough to press a gentle kiss on the injured man's cheek before stripping him of his damp shorts and rebinding his wounds. He did not protest, he was feeling weak and feverish again. At last, Mephisto settled the remains of the blankets over him and pressed a cool cloth against his forehead. "Sleep, my only love. There will be time enough to heal and to grieve. I will watch over you."
Kyoya smiled for the first time in a long while and let sleep carry him down into the darkness. Kyoya woke to green stormlight streaming through the windows. A cool breeze blew through the open shutters, carrying the clean scent of the night's rain and the promise of more to come. He shivered and tried to sit up.
"lie still. You will not get out of bed today." Mephisto appeared from the shadows and pressed him gently back onto the pillows. He opened the dressing on his chest and touched the angry red welt gingerly. His hair fell forward across his face as he did so.
Boldly, Kyoya slid his hands into the heavy mass pushing it up revealing Mephisto's amused face. The hair was finest silk as it slipped through his fingers. His wandering fingers drifted down, stroking his temples, sweeping across his cool cheeks to cup the pointed chin. He brushed a finger across Mephisto's bottom lip.
Mephisto smiled. Without the ironic twist or the bitterness in it, his smile was breathtaking. It gave him the strength to do what he had not been able to do before. He rose, not feeling any pain to a sitting position and claimed Mephisto's lips with his own. They were sweeter than he had imagined, firm and sure.
He plundered the immortal's mouth drawing will, courage, and strength from within, from the breath that filled his own lungs, from the soft moans of pleasure he was able to pull from his angel. When he drew away he caught Mephisto's eyes and said what he had never been able to make himself say to himself or to Sayaka.
"I love you Mephisto. I have loved you since the first day we met. I tried to deny it, to love Sayaka, but it was always you in my dreams and in my my heart. She knew that long before I allowed myself to see what the problem between us was. I wanted to tell you, but you were so..."
"Unapproachable?" The bitterness was back in his smile again.
"Perfect, you are too beautiful, too powerful, too certain of yourself and the world around you. I never believed you would have any use for a foolish boy like me."
Mephisto leaned in and kissed Kyoya firmly. "You are a fool, as big a fool as I am, but after I am done with you, you will be a man."
Kyoya trembled at the promise in that velvety voice.
Outside the storm roared on and the rain washed the filth and debris from the streets of the Demon City, Shinjuku into the gutters below where foul things writhed and fought for dominion. Evil grew and gained power, darkness spread, injustice went on, but in two hearts, one human, one immortal, love flared and the darkness trembled in fear.